Space Shuttle

The Space Shuttle is the world's first reusable spacecraft and the first spacecraft in history that can carry large satellites both to and from orbit. The Shuttle launches like a rocket, maneuvers in Earth orbit like a spacecraft and lands like an airplane. There are only 3 Space Shuttles left in operation, The Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavor . The Columbia broke up on reentry on Feb. 1, 2003 and the Challenger exploded during ascent in January 1986. Endeavor was built as a replacement following the Challenger explosion. The Enterprise never flew in space but was used for approach and landing tests at the Dryden Flight Research Center and several launch pad studies in the late 1970s. The last shuttle mission launched on July 8, 2011 and landed on July 21, 2011. this leaves the US without a manned spacecraft for the first time since 1962 marking the end of US manned space flight. There is no planned replacement for the Space Shuttle.

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